Ladies Weekend 2018 was a great adventure. It was also exhausting. So, for 2019 we went in a different direction. Rather than driving from city to city and squeezing in so much… We opted to let someone else do all the work for us. Enter Carnival Cruise Line.
We couldn’t think of a more relaxing option than a cruise. We could pay for everything up front and let them take care of all our food and entertainment. There was no splitting dinner checks or planning out everything ahead of time. And it was exactly what we needed.
These weekends started because we all needed a break from our “regular lives.” This was our fourth trip and by far the most restorative.
Day 1: Miami
Like any good Ladies Weekend should, we started with drinks. After checking in and giving our bags to the valet, we headed directly to the bar in the Grand Atrium Plaza. Truth be told, the Sensation is one of Carnival’s older ships, and it shows in the decor. But we embraced the gaudiness of it all, clinked our fruity drinks, and got our bearings on board.
We made our way to Serenity, a delightful-but-smaller-than-I-hoped area of the ship for adults only. There were three lounge chairs destined for us, where we parked for a while. We alternated between sipping our drinks, dozing off, and watching Miami fade into the distance. It was the perfect way to kick off the trip.
Once our room was available, we headed there to rest and refresh before our first dinner in the Fantasy Dining Room.
I was a little bummed that our table was so far in the back of the dining room. Plus, while we had a large table, it was only the three of us and two other ladies for most of the dinners. On the flip side, those other ladies were a delight, and our team of servers were wonderful.
Day 2: Key West
The next morning, we arrived bright and early in Key West. Having grown up in Miami and cruised this very itinerary before, I have been to Key West. BUT never as an adult. We really wanted to maintain our easy feeling, so we opted against any excursions. Instead, we decided in favor of walking around and exploring on our own.
We decided to walk into the Hellings House, home of the Key West Women’s Club. That inadvertently got us a tour from one of its members. It took a longer than I wanted to spend there, but our hostess was lovely and the house was beautiful. (Fun fact: the house’s only stairs our outside.)
We continued to make our way down Duval Street. We stoppedfor a drink at Tu Ti Fru Ti’s and eventually arrived at the Southernmost Point of the Continental US. Then, it was time to head back. This time, we went up Whitehead Street and past the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, as well as Mile Marker 0.
Day 2 was also our formal night in the dining room. We got dolled up and enjoyed a fancier-than-usual meal before dancing the night away at the Kaleidoscope Discotheque.
Day 3: Cozumel (Mexico)
We weren’t scheduled to arrive in Cozumel until noon. And so we spent the better part of the morning lounging by the pool and reading on our stateroom’s balcony. It was lovely!
Once we did arrive, we decided that we wanted to find a beach. Who knew that would be so challenging on an island!? But I dazzled the locals with my Spanish skills and in no time we were off to one of many local “beach clubs” – which basically feel like you’re in someone’s backyard.
For a nominal fee, we were escorted to some waterfront lounge chairs. The fee also included use of the pool, kayaks, and other facilities, including spotty-but-better-than-nothing wifi. They also handed us a menu. Having already eaten, we opted for ridiculous drinks instead. I had the Habana Lights (Malibu rum, pineapple juice, and midori), and it was delicious!
We ran back to the ship to shower and change, but quickly made our way back on land. We enjoyed THE MOST nachos at Fat Tuesday, just off the ship’s dock. It started off pretty tame, but by the time we had to get back on board, the music was pumping and everyone was having a great time.
We headed directly to our favorite place on the ship: the Touch of Class Piano Bar. We belted the night away with some fast friends at this delightful singalong spot.
Day 4: At Sea
Knowing we had a full day on the ship, we decided to enjoy a leisurely brunch in the dining room, rather than order continental or hitting up the buffet like the previous days. The food was great, and as a bonus, a ship performer joined us for part of the meal. Somewhere between a magician and a mentalist, Chetan did a series of tricks that kept us entertained during our meal. Very fun!
Another benefit of cruising as a group is that everyone can go there own way; no one’s getting lost on board! One person can lay by the pool, while another walks the Fun Shops and another takes a nap. And we did all those things!
For our final night on board, we made the rounds at all our favorite places. After enjoying a final sunset from Serenity, we had a final dinner in the dining room, stopped by the dance club for a bit, and ended the night back at Touch of Class.
The next morning, we got off the ship pretty early, and it was like a dream. All the friends we made, all the adventures we had, they all quickly became memories. Another successful Ladies Weekend for the books.
We usually need a little recovery time before we start thinking about our next trip, but another cruise is definitely a possibility.